Two for Tuesday: Jorge Luis Borges
Tuesday afternoon, cold and snow off and on, 26 degrees.
I’m still suffering from writer’s block. The words just aren’t coming. The good news, though, is that I’ve collected a bunch of quotes and images for future posts, that is, if I can ever write them.
Anyway, today’s selection includes two poems by author and poet Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986). The Poetry Foundation has a really good bio here.
I hope you are doing well out there in the ether. Everyone here, human and beast, is doing fine. It’s supposed to be beastly cold for a few days, and then a nice warm up for about a week. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it actually comes to pass.
More later. Peace.
Two English Poems
The useless dawn finds me in a deserted street-
…corner; I have outlived the night.
Nights are proud waves; darkblue topheavy waves
…laden with all the hues of deep spoil, laden with
…things unlikely and desirable.
Nights have a habit of mysterious gifts and refusals,
…of things half given away, half withheld,
…of joys with a dark hemisphere. Nights act
…that way, I tell you.
The surge, that night, left me the customary shreds
…and odd ends: some hated friends to chat
…with, music for dreams, and the smoking of
…bitter ashes. The things my hungry heart
…has no use for.
The big wave brought you.
Words, any words, your laughter; and you so lazily
…and incessantly beautiful. We talked and you
…have forgotten the words.
The shattering dawn finds me in a deserted street
…of my city.
Your profile turned away, the sounds that go to
…make your name, the lilt of your laughter:
…these are the illustrious toys you have left me.
I turn them over in the dawn, I lose them, I find
…them; I tell them to the few stray dogs and
…to the few stray stars of the dawn.
Your dark rich life . . .
I must get at you, somehow; I put away those
…illustrious toys you have left me, I want your
…hidden look, your real smile—that lonely,
…mocking smile your cool mirror knows.
What can I hold you with?
I offer you lean streets, desperate sunsets, the
…moon of the jagged suburbs.
I offer you the bitterness of a man who has looked
…long and long at the lonely moon.
I offer you my ancestors, my dead men, the ghosts
…that living men have honoured in bronze:
…my father’s father killed in the frontier of
Buenos Aires, two bullets through his lungs,
…bearded and dead, wrapped by his soldiers in
…the hide of a cow; my mother’s grandfather
…—just twentyfour—heading a charge of
…three hundred men in Peru, now ghosts on
I offer you whatever insight my books may hold,
…whatever manliness or humour my life.
I offer you the loyalty of a man who has never
I offer you that kernel of myself that I have saved,
…somehow—the central heart that deals not
…in words, traffics not with dreams, and is
…untouched by time, by joy, by adversities.
I offer you the memory of a yellow rose seen at
…sunset, years before you were born.
I offer you explanations of yourself, theories about
…yourself, authentic and surprising news of
I can give you my loneliness, my darkness, the
…hunger of my heart; I am trying to bribe you
…with uncertainty, with danger, with defeat.
Music by Iron & Wine, “Bird Stealing Bread”